Amazon's Kindle App Hitches Ride as iPad Debuts Globally

Kindle App to benefit from iPag global launch
Kindle App to benefit from iPag global launch

Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle App hitched a ride Friday as Apple's popular iPad made its global debut. But as the iPad hits nine foreign countries amid a crush of crowds today, the Kindle App shows some limitations.

It turns out Amazon operates local websites in only five of the nine countries where Apple's iPad is launching today: Japan, Germany, France, the U.K. and Canada. The newly minted iPad users in Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Australia may have to wait longer to use the Kindle Store.

However, iPad users in Italy and Spain may get lucky if an author or publisher takes it upon themselves to upload their books in Italian or Spanish via the Kindle Digital Text Platform to the Kindle Store. That capability was added to the Amazon site earlier this year.

iPad Fans Are Used to Waiting

Any wait is not likely to be a problem for iPad users. During the iPad global launch today, folks got a taste of long lines. In Japan, a line of roughly 1,200 wanna-be iPad buyers waited outside an Apple store in Tokyo's famed Ginza district, according to a Reuters report. And in the U.K., Associated Press reported long lines outside Apple's flagship store in London, while in Canada iPad enthusiasts found a workaround to the wait, according to the Toronto Star. It turns out a number of customers crossed the border into the U.S., where they snapped up iPads weeks ahead of the official Canadian launch and for $50 less, the Star noted.

It makes sense for Amazon to cash in on the iPad hoopla, even though its Kindle eBook reader is a direct competitor. The Kindle App, which works with other devices such as Apple's iPhone and iPod touch, allows users to select thousands of books from Amazon's Kindle Store.

"We're thrilled to make Kindle for iPad available to readers around the world," says Jay Marine, Amazon Kindle director, in a statement. "Kindle for iPad includes all the features customers love about Kindle for iPhone, including great selection and synchronization of their books across a variety of Kindle apps, along with a beautiful new user interface tailored to the look and feel of iPad."

Another feature iPad users may appreciate is access to all of the free books on the Kindle Store, whether or not they rank on any top 10 list.